CMU Opens Centre for Digital Innovation

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley (second right), examines his new drone which was made in the Dr Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing and presented to him as a gift on Wednesday, November 15. Occasion was the official opening of the facility. At right is the Chancellor, Caribbean Maritime University, His Royal Majesty Drolor Bosso Adamtey I.

Story Highlights

  • The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) has officially opened a new Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing and named it in honour of Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatle
  • “The Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing is focused on becoming a premier research institute in digital technologies and advanced manufacturing methods and equipment, including research into thermoplastics, metals and ceramics,” she explained.
  • “This opening of a state-of-the-art centre is indeed a very big leapfrog in the expansion of training opportunities for Jamaicans and our neighbours from the wider Caribbean. This reality is STEM in action, representing the kind of 21st century training the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has been championing” he said.

The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) has officially opened a new Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing and named it in honour of Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley.

As such, the unit, which is located at CMU’s Palisadoes Park in Kingston, is now called the Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing. The official opening took place on Wednesday, November 15.

The Centre is the home of the most sophisticated fleet of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D Printers in Jamaica and will also house research and development (R&D) on designing and building drone technology and 3D laser scanning.

It is the first and only innovation centre in the English-speaking Caribbean that will facilitate R&D aimed at digital transformation.

Dr. Wheatley was elated at the launch, and in his address said he is pleased that the institution in Jamaica, which was most recently accredited as a university, has decided to formally recognise him by naming their newest department in his honour.

“I am really and truly humbled to be accorded the exceptional privilege of this Centre being named in my honour. I have also taken a keen interest in the Caribbean Maritime University, because I see this institution playing a key role in the current and future development and growth of our region, not just Jamaica,” he said.

“For the first time in the Caribbean, we have a Centre that will not only facilitate digital innovations, but will also position us on the cutting edge of industrial development,” Dr. Wheatley added.

He thanked the organisations that have partnered with CMU for the operations of the Centre, including the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited, German Ship Repair Jamaica, J. Wray and Nephew Limited, and Jamaica Energy Partners.

The Centre will be headed by Executive Director, Erica Simmons, who has spent two decades in the enterprise software industry, focusing on innovative software technologies at Siemens AG Digital Factory Software Division in the United States, where she led business development and marketing.

Mrs. Simmons said the Centre will seek to attract talented student designers, creators and engineers and will be available to students, faculty and industry practitioners who want to utilise additive manufacturing for co-innovation in a research-based environment.

“The Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing is focused on becoming a premier research institute in digital technologies and advanced manufacturing methods and equipment, including research into thermoplastics, metals and ceramics,” she explained.

“The Centre is the home of the most sophisticated fleet of Fused Deposition Modeling 3D Printers in Jamaica. In fact, we have 16 of these printers, including one very professional-grade printer used in manufacturing environments by big brands such as GM, BMW, Boeing and others,” Mrs. Simmons added.

“The Centre will perform a variety of rapid prototyping and low-volume part manufacturing. We want to focus on solving really challenging problems, the ones where we can delve into our creativity. The Centre will also be studying materials sciences, specifically thermoplastics such as PLA, ABS and others that are used in a wide variety of applications,” she said.

For his part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said he is pleased to see new developments happening at the CMU.

 

“This opening of a state-of-the-art centre is indeed a very big leapfrog in the expansion of training opportunities for Jamaicans and our neighbours from the wider Caribbean. This reality is STEM in action, representing the kind of 21st century training the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has been championing” he said.

At the end of the launch, Dr. Wheatley was presented with the gift of a drone that was made at the Centre.

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